Monthly Archives: May 2013

Cavity Wall installations virtually wiped out!


According to figures from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, Melanie Hall reports in
the Telegraph
today that  “installations of cavity wall insulation were down by 97 per cent in April compared with the same month last year.”

There are similar reports in the Financial Times, Which and The National Landlords Association

Just 1,138 installations in April compared with nearly 50,000 in April 2012. OK last year there were different energy programmes (CESS and CERT) but Green Deal seems to have finished off this industry completely as we warned last year!

Despite 18,000 Green Deal assessments take up is painfully slow meanwhile fewer homes are being insulated, fewer employees are required and companies have spent thousands
becoming qualified to no avail, so the only winners so far are the producers of red tape!

Even the principal target or landlords fear that when a tenant leaves their property,
they must pick up the obligation to make repayments until the new tenant agrees
to take on the charges!

Time is running out for Green Deal to really work and other industries like double glazing are watching very carefully.

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New accreditation available as PWDMA joins

pwdma logo

The Professional Window & Door Maintenance Association

A warm welcome to “The PWDMA”, although only recently established the association sets out to earmark companies with an exceptional quality standard of maintenance within the fenestration industry. They join a growing number of accreditation bodies and trade associations who see as a great place for the public to find them, their members and understand the importance of the services they offer.

Whilst some double glazing companies will claim their products are maintenance free, any such claim is inaccurate, it should be minimal maintenance or low maintenance because any product with moving parts works better with a little TLC!

Members can now display this accreditation as they can for any they hold and retail customers can search (using advanced search facility) to find members of PWDMA in their area.

Their members are certified, that they’re of the highest quality with years of experience and expertise in the field. Furthermore their members have been carefully vetted, DBS checked and approved to ensure confidence in the services offer by their members.

Check out their web site here

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From July 1st your new windows, doors or conservatory have to be CE marked.

CE logo

What is CE marking and why is it necessary?

CE marking indicates that a product is compliant to EU laws so that it can be traded anywhere within the EU. ‘CE’ marking is on many (but no all) products across the 27 member states of the EU together with Iceland, Turkey, Liechtenstein and Norway.  The mark is proof that the manufacture of a given product is satisfied that the products it manufactures, meets the health, safety and environmental standards expected by Europe. Attaching the CE mark onto a product, signifies that the manufacturer believes their products conform to these legal requirements, as set out by the EU.

As a retail customer you should look for this mark so that you can be confident that the product is okay to use in your home.

As a manufacturer you are required by law (from July 1st) to demonstrate your companies compliance by attaching  a CE label to the products you make and on any material you publish including your web site. You must carry out an assessment, establish a technical file, issue a Declaration of Conformity before attaching a CE mark to your products.

It is illegal to sell product requiring CE marking on a web site if they’re not CE marked.

Size doesn’t matter, even if you purchase unglazed frames and make or buy sealed units separately, if you assemble these two components (in a factory or on site) you become the manufacturer and the entity which must comply with the regulations, not the frame producer or the sealed unit manufacturer. You are placing the product on the market so you are required to demonstrate compliance with the law.

However “Micro businesses” firms which employ less than 10 staff and with a turnover of less than 2m Euro (£1.8m approx.) are exempt from the burden of detailed factory control processes (FPC). The simplified rules of performance data that micro enterprises declare, do not need Notified Body approval or certification.

Very small companies can use cascaded information but if their final assembly of the finished products does not need approval from a certified body, who checks it was right, what level of compliance will there be. With so many very small companies buying unglazed windows and fitting glass themselves, just how do consumers know they have got a compliant product?

As an installer of windows or a distributor of finished products that a manufacturer has made and placed upon the market, you must “verify the presence of both the CE marking and the necessary supporting documentation” and take all steps possible to ensure compliance and that they are permitted to be traded within the EU.

CE marking more important than most of the other bureaucratic red tape that the industry faces because this one is mandatory.

Most fabricators are reliant upon systems companies help or they ignore these issues and blag their way through. Well systems companies can only help so far , like WERs values can cascade down, but from July it is the fabricator (in the case of glazed windows) or installer (where they buy unglazed frames and sealed units in, even from the same supplier) because they assemble the final product and place it into the marketplace, therefore it is they who must show compliance with DoP certificates, CE marking and information on web sites, indeed everywhere they show their products.

Besides failing to comply with EU law, it could also make contracts null and void if companies make claims that they meet all necessary standards and don’t.

So what happens if products are not marked on July 1st?

Well trading standards won’t cope, to be fair I doubt they’ll be interested unless it’s a big company they can use as an example, meanwhile the good guys will continue to demonstrate compliance and be undercut by those with no understanding or intention of complying!

However any retail customer who believes they have been wronged may have a stronger case if they can prove the product was not compliant to EU law, it should have been CE marked and wasn’t.

Still you can rest assured that will have CE marking as an accreditation that companies can display, making it easier for retail customers to find those lawful companies and ask some challenging questions to those who flout the law.

For more details read governments article here or this explanation by contracts & law

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Changing times, changing attitudes, better windows!

ideal home show

When I was first introduced into the window industry in 1972, Crittall metal windows were the window of choice for council. Slim, strong and mass produced these windows were installed into social housing properties by councils and housing associations across the land. Galvanising had only recently become standard and weather stripping (the neoprene gasket designed to reduce heat loss) along with double glazing, was still an optional extra.

Crittall Hope as it then was, had dabbled with Trocal and Mipolam plastic extrusions during the 1960’s and introduced a PVCu sub frame from the SMW’s (standard metal windows) during the late 1970’s.  When the German extruders of Veka, Kommerling and Rehau started pushing their PVCu window sections the plastic profile had to be virgin material. 100% pure compounds, the merest mention of reground PVC would eliminate any chance of tendering immediately, as they believed the industry was selling sub-standard materials.

Today, thanks to the recycling steps that many companies have taken, councils have done a full 180. Recycling is now paramount. Collecting old window and door frames from 30 or 40 years ago, stripping down the component parts, steel, aluminium, glass and plastic is now an industry on its own.

Having recently visited the new recycling centre of Deceuninck in Belgium I can confirm it’s an amazing process which filters out these heavier components before chipping plastics into small particles and separating PVC into white, then coloured sections. It’s best described as the modern day equivalent “panning for gold”, capturing every last ounce of reusable material before so that it can re-enter the supply chain.

Oh and to answer the age long question, “take off bottle tops or leave them on?” it’s doesn’t matter, the process sorts everything out, just empty the bottles first!

Window construction methods have changed significantly during this time too.

The state of the economy means every home owner or council wants as many windows as they can have for their investment, the cheaper a window is the more window installed or more tenants they can make happy; however they too are learning that quality pays, both the long term serviceability savings and with the aesthetic demands of residents.

Whilst cheap windows may initially look attractive, if the handles fall off or hinges become detached because the screws attaching them either rust away or work loose, then the servicing costs will soon eat into any earlier “savings”. Inserting steel reinforcement to ensure a secure fixing for screws has to be more expensive initially, but if that means the windows remain functioning for 20 years not 20 minutes then its far better value for money.

During the 1970-80’s window sections were mitred, cut at 45 degrees then welded and the sprue removed with a grooved slot being the standard application. Polished corners where the sprue was removed and the seam sanded flat became fashionable for a time, until owners worked out the scratching and polishing actually attracted dirt and quickly devalued their windows.

Whilst cutting and welding is quick, easy and cheap to produce and glazing bars inside the two sheets of glass were supposed to mirror former glazing patterns, these techniques all too often poorly mimicked the designs and detail.

Today, many of the joints are now mechanically joined, replicating the joints found on timber windows and with acrylic wood textured foils laminated to the surface of PVCu, offering the appearance of timber but without the painting or very much maintenance.

Window materials, construction and design have come a long way in the last 40 years. Windows of all materials now offer far lower maintenance, are more in keeping and sympathetic with the original designs of the building and offer significantly better insulation.

Just don’t expect the prettiest, most energy efficient windows to be the cheapest, but they will look fabulous, blend into their surrounding and perform for several years, saving you a small fortune in energy bills.

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Improve internet visibility for your company, without it costing you a penny!

price of double glazing

Each month we send out a general mail shot, updating companies about industry news but our statistics show that most companies are missing out on FREE enquiries because they didn’t activate their account, so we send every company and prospective purchaser of home improvement products a simple invitation:-

“Get FREE advertising for your business, be listed for FREE, and be promoted locally for FREE along with access to sales enquiries and client reviews, all without any financial outlay”

 If you don’t believe you can get FREE leads, try this simple test

Open the page for your company and read what a retail customers will see when they search our site.

Click on the pop up as it appears from the bottom of the page, it’s called “Manage My Shortlist”.

Save your company as a favourite by adding your company to the “shortlist” (like a retail customer would) and then send yourself an invitation by email.

I promise you this works, no catches, what’s more it’s a FREE service to help retail customers make contact with your business, providing we’ve got your email address set up.

Retail customers are using this pop up right now to invite companies to quote for windows because its not an artificial lead generation site which sells their information. If they like what they read about you, they can send you (or as many as they decide) an email inviting you to provide them with a quotation for replacement windows, doors, double glazing or conservatories.


Don’t be, because as a registered company you can even check that it was received by yourself !

Providing you have activated your account (we have had your permission to create a Log in account) you could now log into your company yourself (via the “company log-in” button at the top of the page) and see the lead you sent to yourself to prove the system works!

So why would I give you FREE advertising, a basic entry FREE and the ability to get enquiries from retail customers without having to pay a penny?

Well the answer is simple.

Although most companies are naturally suspicious they soon decide that they want to stand out from everyone else, stand out from the competition. Often they want to display their company logo, their accreditations, a brochure and pictures of recent installations. Well you can do all this and more with an enhanced entry for just £19.95 +vat per month or stay at the basic level for FREE.

Finally, if you’d like to see what you get with an enhanced entry just email me back FREE GOLD TRIAL and I will activate a 30 day trial period so that you can play with the extra features. During this free trial period you can also use extra features to invite clients leave reviews

What’s keeping you?

Why not spend a couple of  minutes right now to make certain your account is active and that you’ll a lead if a visitor uses our system and selects your company to give them a quote?

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Double Glazing Blogger joins and reviews site.

tick boxes

Year ago we read newspapers, with the Internet came instant news, however opinions became easier to provide and simple to read via blogs, open forums to share opinions instantly.

One such blog is DGB, “Double Glazing Blogger”, an intelligent IT guru and industry commentator with many followers (nearly 2,500 on twitter), clearly people are interested in what he has to say. He is also the co-architect behind a new industry awards scheme called the National Fenestration Awards which include monthly cool wall for neat installations.

Having met at the FIT show and learning there was far more to our site than he previously thought, he very kindly reviewed and recommended companies should sign up for the FREE listing they can have.

He liked the fact there were no advertisements or sponsors or paid for links and that it was very easy to navigate. Indeed he spent a bit of time registering the company I work for and found the process “very easy and very simple”.

He also commended us for the “industry news” being real news about the industry and not a plug for our own information and that the knowledge and advice section is a valuable addition to help retail customers understand our industry better.

His full review is here, and you can find out more about DGB or follow him on twitter @glazingblogger. Thank you DGB we appreciate the feedback!

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National Neighbourhood & Home Watch Week

burglar break in

Next month sees the 2013 National Neighbourhood & Home Watch Week, it will run from June 15th – 23rd June but they are always looking for people to get involved locally to join an existing scheme, set up a new neighbourhood watch or a corporate watch for companies or industrial estates etc.

Whilst some may say its all big brother, undoubtedly, neighbourhood watch schemes offer reassurance that there are others looking out for you best interest and it certainly builds community spirit.

Read more here

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